This is a beautifully written study, mixing film studies with cultural studies, of how the Hollywood film industry has treated the 'Other' throughout its history. In "Otherness in Hollywood Cinema", Michael Richardson argues that the Hollywood system has been the only national cinema with the resources and inclination to explore images of others through stories set in exotic and faraway places. He traces many of the ways in which Hollywood has constructed otherness, and discusses the extent to which those images have persisted and conditioned today's understanding. Hollywood was from the beginning teeming with people who had experienced cultural displacement. Coaxing the finest talents from around the world and needing to produce films with an almost universal appeal, Hollywood confounded American insularity while simultaneously presenting a vision of 'America' to the world. The book examines a range of genres from the perspective of otherness, including the Western, film noir, and zombie movies. Films discussed include "Birth of a Nation", "The New World", "The Searchers", "King Kong", "Apocalypse Now", "Blade Runner", "Jaws", and "Dead Man".
Erudite and highly informed, this is a sweeping survey of how the American film industry has portrayed the foreign and the exotic.
Michael Richardson is Visiting Fellow (honorary) at Goldsmith's College, University of London. His research interests focus on issues of representation and how they relate to the anthropological relation. He has published widely, having edited a collection of writings of Georges Bataille on surrealism (The Absence of Myth, Verso, 1991) and surrealism and the Caribbean (Refusal of the Shadow, Verso 1996), as well as writing the single authored books George Bataille (Routledge, 1994), The Experience of Culture (Sage, 2001) and Surrealism and Cinema (Berg, 2006). From 2004-7, he was Visiting Professor in Cultural Studies at Waseda University, Tokyo.
Introduction: Hollywood Cinema and the "Other"; 1. The Other and the Wilderness; 2. The Myth of the Frontier; 3. Chasing Chinese Shadows: The Yellow Peril Reconsidered; 4. The Exotic as Spectacle; 5. Otherness in the Night: Film Noir; 6. Of Monsters and Cold Wars; 7. The Myth of the Zombie; 8. Apocalypse Now on a Borderline of Consciousness; 9. Reconfigurations of the Exotic in Contemporary Cinema; 10. Steven Spielberg and the Sanctification of Difference; 11. Jim Jarmusch, or Communication in Crisis; 12. The Persistence of King Kong; Epilogue; Filmography; Bibliography; Index.